New Dads of the Y: the millennials doing things differently

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Pictured: Michael "Della" Delaney with Lily, Nick Krause with Eddie, Jason Liddle with Theodore. Richard Quail was unfortunately under the weather and missed the baby shoot.

This week we launched our new Father’s Day campaign #RemindYourselfY and over the next few weeks will be showcasing different ways the Y connects, supports and celebrates dads and father-figures.

There’s a new breed of dads working at the Y and they’re doing things a bit differently to previous generations.

They’re very hands-on, passionate about equality and want to be more than just breadwinners for their families. Research backs this up showing that 83% of millennial dads say family is more important than their career.

We recently chatted to three millennial YMCA employees and proud dads about what the new life-time gig means to them.

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 Pictured: Eddie and Lily

Nothing can prepare you for being a new dad, but all Y dads agree to ignore all advice (especially the horrific birth stories). All you can expect is the unexpected.

“The most surprising thing was the instantaneous love and attachment for such a small, fairly communication-less little human.” Area Manager of Darebin Leisure Facilities Richard Quail said about his three-month year daughter named Harper and a two-year-old son named Harvey.

“Every day is a new exciting milestone, whether it be the first smile, first laugh, the first word,” he said.

For Jason Liddle, Volunteer for Youth Services and Office Operations Coordinator, and dad to 18-month-year-old Theo, he was shocked by how easy some things have been because his daughter and wife are depending on him.

“Even when something is hard, difficult or stressful, or is something for the first time, it’s easy due to the need for it to be done,” he said.

For Graphic Designer Nick Krause, who has seven-month-year old Eddie, he found the new role brought a whole bunch of surprises:

“There are 24 hours in a day and they’re all for parenting. You can feel very, very trapped in your own four walls. The mood of the baby controls everything. Also, society isn’t ready for dads to be a primary career,” he said.


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Pictured: Theo, Lily, Eddie

More than before, this generation of dads is feeling the weight of balancing work and family life and quest to ‘have it all.’ ABS research shows that more than 90% of employed fathers work full-time, with more than half working more than 45 hours a week.

As a result of searching for balance, equality was a popular discussion by the dads, who want more autonomy and freedom for their female partners, better facilities for males and their bubs (like changing tables) and feel the weight of outdated social stereotypes.

“I think people are often shocked when I wander down the street with just my dog and baby, wondering how I got my hands on them, or if my wife is in a shop nearby. I don’t think dads are seen as capable, let alone encouraged to be,” Nick said.

Richard finds gender stereotypes around parenting being a ‘mum’s job’ infuriating.

“Dads do have it easy from a biological point of view (birth, breastfeeding, etc). But when it comes to raising children, fathers need to get in there, roll up their sleeves and give it a crack,” he said.

Jason has been so inspired by all the changes he wants to make around fatherhood that he is now writing a book about it all.

How is the YMCA as a workplace for new dads? All of the new Y dads agreed that the organisation’s flexibility and support from staff members helped them, with Jason saying that his work makes him be a better person and dad. Richard also highlighted the YMCA’s belief in young people as a strong motivator in his work.

“The power of the work we do has become so much more important to me, from swimming lessons to the employment of young people, I view it all with greater appreciation now.”